GranPa Learns How to Paint

Back in the forties, "Spring Time in Texas" meant a spring cleaning for the house and spruce up time for the outside so, in 1943 when I was 9 years old and we had moved into the Lueders house, it was on one of these spring time episodes when I was made to paint the barn fence which consisted of 4 rows of 1 X 6 boards.

Right after I started, My father came down to see how I was doing and he found me dipping my paint brush in the gallon paint can and then wiping the brush off on the side of the can.

He took the paint brush from me and said "That ain't how you paint. Your wiping all the paint off the brush" and with that he dipped the brush in about half way up the bristles, slapped it on the side of the can a couple of times and then painted about 3 feet of the fence with that one brush full of paint.

He did that 2 or 3 times and handed me the brush back and said "Now that is how you paint" "You don't diddle daddle boy you slap that paint on the fence and get it done".

I had to admit he covered some ground with the paint whereas I had been having to go back to the bucket quite often and didn't cover much area with each dip of the brush.

After Daddy left and went back up to the house, I discovered that shoot if I didn't even slap the brush on the side of the can I could really cover some ground and get this job over with and go play with Carol.

So, I would stick that brush way into the paint and get a real brush full and slap her on the fence.

With in about 45 minutes I had one whole side of the fence painted but, was out of paint so I went up to the house and told Daddy "I need more paint."

"What in the hell are you taking about!, You can't be out of paint."

"Well it's all gone", I said. "How far did you get?" - "That one side", I said.

Daddy gets up and says, "Well I got to find out what's going on because you had enough paint to paint the whole fence."

We go back to the barn and with a few expletive words Daddy says "your blinkty blank paint is all over the ground, your suppose to paint the fence, not the blinkity blank grass."

We go to the lumber yard and get another gallon of white paint and I was shown once more how to paint a fence and warned there better not be another drop hit the ground.

I finished the fence and had 1/2 gallon paint left.

To see the fence where GranPa learned to paint, Click:..   HERE

End of Season one.

Another spring season or two rolled around and Daddy decides the whole barn needs painting. I commenced to complain and he told me, "Now look I'll let you paint one side each weekend and in just 4 weekends, one month you will be through."

So, I proceeded to paint the barn and did just that and after 3 weekends I had the barn all painted except the back end which faced west and was out of sight.

That Saturday morning at breakfast, I told Daddy that Carol, Harold, Max and a few others of my friends were spending the night on the river and I sure would like to go with them. I explained that all there was left was the end which couldn't even be seen from the street. He said, "Well Ok but, we are going to finish that barn and it don't matter what part of it can't be seen by anyone else."

So, I spent the weekend with the rest of my buddies on our beloved Clear Fork of the Brazos.

Daddy never mentioned the barn the rest of the week nor the following Saturday morning at breakfast and I sure as hell didn't mention it either.

After breakfast, I'm sure I told mother where I was going and I can't recall now what I did that weekend but, I didn't do any painting.

Another week rolls by and Saturday comes along and again nothing has been said about the barn.

I mosey down to breakfast Saturday morning and Daddy is looking me over and he says, "What you doing in them good clothes?" and I say "Well Carol and I are........." and he says, "I don't think so, I let you slide two weeks ago to spend the weekend on the river and then last weekend which you thought you had gotten away with, I let you slide again. Your through sliding young man. Now get your ass back up stairs and get them paint clothes on because this weekend we are finishing the barn".

And folks that is how and why the barn and everything else usually looked nice at the "Smyth House". Child abuse wouldn't you think.

End of Season Two

My Mother had to share a part in this child abuse because at another spring painting session I was made to paint the kitchen cabinets and walls pink. Don't ask why pink, I reckon it was the thing at the time.

Our telephone at the time was one of those big old large wooden wall phones with the mouth piece sticking out in front that required you to stand up to talk. It was mounted on the kitchen wall just inside the door.

While painting the wall around the phone, I first tried to keep the paint off the phone and that got to be a pain so I just painted the phone pink and we used that phone several more years.

The Smyth kitchen now had a pink decor with matching accessories.

The first time Mr. Lambert who owned the local phone company viewed my paint job he didn't say much but, did have a weird frown.

Later on we did get a different phone and I next saw our beautiful old pink telephone mounted in someone else's house there in Lueders. I wish I could recall whose house it was.

At any rate, thanks to forced labor someone in Lueders got to use a custom painted telephone.

Some time after I graduated and was living in Abilene, I was over at Robert Sanders house which was right across the street from the telephone office and Mr. Lambert had some storage sheds there besides the Sanders house.

Mr. Lambert had been in the process of converting the Lueders telephone system from the hand cranking system with an operator to a dial system which meant he was throwing away all the old crank telephones.

There outside the storage shed was a pile of old crank telephones that would have more then filled the back of a pickup and in the pile was our old pink telephone. "O" how I now wish I had ask Mr. Lambert for it.

Seeing the prices of some old style phones in antique stores now days I expect Mr. Lambert threw out a small fortune. But, then that is the same with a lot of old things.

End of "How GranPa learned to Paint"

Epilogue:...  My own children didn't fare any better relative to child abuse. But, they do all know how to paint. Fact is, Ray Jr. is in charge of a paint crew at Kennedy Space Center and interestingly enough his own son, John i.e. my grandson, is an apprentice in the Orlando Painters Union.

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